EP2148830A1 - Improved shuttle machine for machine tool - Google Patents

Improved shuttle machine for machine tool

Info

Publication number
EP2148830A1
EP2148830A1 EP08769727A EP08769727A EP2148830A1 EP 2148830 A1 EP2148830 A1 EP 2148830A1 EP 08769727 A EP08769727 A EP 08769727A EP 08769727 A EP08769727 A EP 08769727A EP 2148830 A1 EP2148830 A1 EP 2148830A1
Authority
EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
conveyer
state
conveyers
machine
work pieces
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
EP08769727A
Other languages
German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP2148830A4 (en
Inventor
Joseph Nazari
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Winterborne Inc
Original Assignee
Winterborne Inc
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US11/755,989 priority Critical patent/US7938249B2/en
Application filed by Winterborne Inc filed Critical Winterborne Inc
Priority to PCT/US2008/064818 priority patent/WO2008150745A1/en
Publication of EP2148830A1 publication Critical patent/EP2148830A1/en
Publication of EP2148830A4 publication Critical patent/EP2148830A4/en
Withdrawn legal-status Critical Current

Links

Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65BMACHINES, APPARATUS OR DEVICES FOR, OR METHODS OF, PACKAGING ARTICLES OR MATERIALS; UNPACKING
    • B65B51/00Devices for, or methods of, sealing or securing package folds or closures; Devices for gathering or twisting wrappers, or necks of bags
    • B65B51/10Applying or generating heat or pressure or combinations thereof
    • B65B51/14Applying or generating heat or pressure or combinations thereof by reciprocating or oscillating members

Abstract

A shuttle machine for transporting work pieces for a sealing press or other machine tool is disclosed. It has two conveyers for transporting work pieces. The two conveyers are supported by a frame to move back and forth in opposite directions. When the two conveyers are in a first position, a second section of the first conveyer and a first section of the second conveyer are located near the tool, while the first second of the first conveyer and the second section of the section conveyer are accessible to first and second operators, respectively. Both operators can unload and reload work pieces simultaneously while the tool operates on the already loaded work pieces. When the conveyers are moved to a second position, the sections previously operated on are accessible for unloading and reloading, and the sections just loaded are operated on. A related operating method is also disclosed.

Description

IMPROVED SHUTTLE MACHINE FOR MACHINE TOOL
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention This invention relates to a shuttle machine used in a sealing press or other machine tools for transporting work pieces. Description of the Related Art
Figs. 1A-1C illustrate a conventional shuttle machine used in a sealing press for sealing product packages, such as blister-pack packages. The shuttle machine is also used in other types of machines for punching, gluing, embossing, stamping, etc. As shown in Fig. IB, the sealing machine includes a press 12 having an upper platen 12a and a lower platen 12b, a support frame 14 situated between the two platens, and a sealing die 16 resting on the support frame 14. The sealing die 16 has a number of openings 16a into which the packages to be sealed are placed. The die 16 has two sections 16-1 and 16-2 substantially identical in size and shape, each section including one or more openings 16a. As shown in Figs. IB and 1C, the sealing die 16 can slide or move along guide rails 14a on the support frame 14 so that the two sections 16-1 and 16-2 are alternately located under the press 12.
In operation, two operators are located to the left and right of the sealing press, respectively. Note that terms such as "left" and "right" as used in this disclosure are with respect to the drawings. In an actual press or other machine tool, the operators may be located in the front and back of the machine (for example, the right hand side of Fig. IB may be the front of the machine), or on the left and right sides of the machine. When the die 16 is moved to the right of the support frame as shown in Fig. IB, the left-hand section 16-1 is located under the press and the right-hand section 16-2 is exposed and accessible to the second operator who is locate to the right of the sealing press. The second operator unloads packages that have been sealed and loads unsealed packages into the openings 16a in the right-hand section 16-2 of the die. Simultaneously, the press 12 operates to seal the packages that have been loaded into the left-hand section 16-1 of the die. When both the pressing and the unloading and reloading by the second operator are finished, the die is moved to the left (e.g. by a drive mechanism and initiated by one of the operators) into the position shown in Fig. 1C. At this position, the right-hand section 16-2 of the die is located under the press 12 and the left-hand section 16-1 is accessible. The first operator, located to the left of the sealing press, unloads the packages that have just been sealed and load unsealed packages into the left-hand section 16-1 of the die. Simultaneously, the press 12 operates to seal the packages that have just been loaded into the right-hand section 16-2 of the die. When both the pressing and the unloading and reloading by the first operator are finished, the die is moved to the right into the position shown in Fig. IB.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Using the conventional shuttle machine described above, unloading/loading of one section of the die can occur simultaneously as the pressing of the other section of the die by the press, improving efficiency and throughput. However, it still contains inefficiency in that one of the operators has to wait when the other operator is unloading and reloading one section of the die and the press is pressing the other section.
An object of the present invention is to provide a shuttle machine that overcomes this inefficiency.
Additional features and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the descriptions that follow and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims thereof as well as the appended drawings.
To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the present invention, as embodied and broadly described, the present invention provides a shuttle machine for transporting a plurality of work pieces in a machine tool, the machine tool including a tool for operating on work pieces, the shuttle machine including: a support frame; and first and second conveyers moveably supported by the support frame for transporting work pieces, wherein each conveyer includes a first and a second section, each section being adapted for holding one or more work pieces, wherein the first and second conveyers are moveable in opposite directions between a first state and a second state, wherein in the first state, the second section of the first conveyer and the first section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator, and wherein in the second state, the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator.
In another aspect, the present invention provides a method for operating the above shuttle machine, including the following steps: (a) moving the first and second conveyers to the first state; (b) unloading and reloading the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the first state; (c) initiate working on work pieces loaded into the second section of the first conveyer and the first section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the first state; (d) moving the first and second conveyers to the second state; (e) unloading and reloading the first section of the second conveyer and the second section of the first conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the second state; (f) initiate working on work pieces loaded into the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the second state; and (g) repeating steps (a) to (f).
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention as claimed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Figures IA - 1C illustrate a conventional shuttle machine.
Figures 2A - 2C illustrate a shuttle machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.
Figure 3 illustrates a shuttle machine according to another embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
A shuttle machine according to an embodiment of the present invention is described with reference to Figs. 2A - 2C. The shuttle machine may be used in a sealing machine or other types of machine tools for punching, gluing, embossing, stamping, etc. A sealing press for sealing product packages, such as blister-pack packages is used as an example in the following descriptions.
As shown in Fig. 2B, the sealing machine includes a press 12 having an upper platen 12a and a lower platen 12b, a support frame 24 situated between the two platens, and two sealing dies 26 and 27 resting on the support frame 24. Each sealing die 26, 27 has a number of openings 26a, 27a into which the packages to be sealed are placed. Each die 26, 27 has two sections 26-1 and 26-2, 27-1 and 27-2, which are substantially identical in size and shape. Each die section includes one or more openings 26a, 27a. As shown in Figs. 2B and 2C, the sealing dies 26 and 27 can move along guide rails 24a, 24b on the support frame 24. In the illustrated embodiment, the guide rails 24a, 24b are located on the top surface of the support frame 24 and engages corresponding wheels or grooves on the bottom of the dies 26, 27. Alternatively, the guide rails may be located on the sidewalls of the support frame. Other suitable structures may also be used to support the dies 26, 27 to move on the support frame 24. In addition, the support frame may have a different structure than that shown in Figs. 2B and 2C. For example, the support frame may be designed so that the dies are attached to the support frame on their sides rather than resting on top of the support frame.
A drive mechanism (not shown) drives the dies 26, 27 to move back and forth in opposite directions between two states. In the first state, shown in Fig. 2B, the right-hand section 26-2 of the first die 26 and the left-hand section 27-1 of the second die 27 are located under the press 12. (Note that terms such as "left" and "right" as used in this disclosure are with respect to the drawings. In an actual press or other machine tool, the operators may be located in the front and back of the machine (for example, the right hand side of Fig. 2B may be the front of the machine), or on the left and right sides of the machine.) The left-hand section 26-1 of the first die 26 is exposed and accessible to a first operator who is located to the left of the sealing press, and the right-hand section 27-2 of the second die 27 is exposed and accessible to a second operator who is located to the right of the sealing press. In the second state, shown in Fig. 2C, the left-hand section 26-1 of the first die 26 and the right- hand section 27-2 of the second die 27 are located under the press 12. The right-hand section 26-2 of the first die 26 is exposed and accessible to the second operator located to the right of the sealing press, and the left-hand section 27-1 of the second die 27 is exposed and accessible to the first operator located to the left of the sealing press.
In operation, when the dies 26 and 27 are moved to the first state, as shown in Fig. 2B, the first operator unloads packages that have been sealed and loads unsealed packages into the openings 26a in the left-hand section 26-1 of the first die 26. Simultaneously, the second operator unloads packages that have been sealed and loads unsealed packages into the openings 27a in the right-hand section 27-2 of the second die 27. Also simultaneously, the press 12 operates to seal the packages that have been loaded into the right-hand section 26-2 of the first die 26 and the left-hand section 27-1 of the second die 27. When both the pressing and the unloading and reloading by the first and second operators are finished, the dies 26, 27 are moved to the second state, as shown in Fig. 2C.
Preferably, the drive mechanism drives both dies to move simultaneously, and the moving may be initiated by either one of the operators. Alternatively, the drive mechanism drives the two dies separately, and the moving of the respective die is initiated by the operator who loaded that die.
When the dies are in the second state as shown in Fig. 2C, the first operator unloads packages that have been sealed and loads unsealed packages into the openings 27a in the left- hand section 27-1 of the second die 27. Simultaneously, the second operator unloads packages that have been sealed and loads unsealed packages into the openings 26a in the right-hand section 26-2 of the first die 26. Also simultaneously, the press 12 operates to seal the packages that have been loaded into the left-hand section 26-1 of the first die 26 and the right-hand section 27-2 of the second die 27. In an alternative embodiment, instead of the dies 26, 27, two flat carriers are disposed on top of the support frame 24. The carriers are supported to move along guide rails or other structures of the support frame 24 in a similar fashion as the dies 26 and 27 move as shown in Figs. 2B and 2C. The carriers are tray-shaped and two dies are carried by the two carriers, respectively. Using carriers is advantage because the dies typically need to be changed frequently. The dies are tooled to have specific shapes for specific products to be sealed. By using the carriers, the dies can be easier changed by taking old dies out of the carriers and placing new dies into the carriers.
Fig. 3 is a top view illustrating a shuttle machine having two carriers according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention. The two carriers 38 and 39 are supported to move in the left-right direction along guide rails or other support structures of a support frame (not shown). The side of each carrier 38, 39 facing the other carrier is provided with a rack 38a, 39a, and one or more pinions 40 are provided between and engaging the two racks so that the two carriers move in opposite directions in a synchronized manner. The dashed lines in Fig. 3 indicate the position of the press 12. Of course, those skilled in the mechanical art will recognize that the two carriers may be implemented in many other ways.
An advantage of the shuttle machine described above is that neither operator has to wait when the other operator is loading the other side of the die as in the conventional shuttle machine. The two operators work simultaneously to unload and reload their respective section of the dies. This reduces wait time and increases efficiency. Although a sealing press is used in the above description as an example, the shuttle machine may be used on any machine tools to transport work pieces to be processed. Depending on the type of machine tool, the tool that operates on the work pieces may be a press or other suitable tools. Similarly, the dies may be replaced by other suitable types of holders that hold the work pieces. More generally, the shuttle machine according to embodiments of the present invention includes two moving conveyers for conveying a plurality of work pieces, where the two moving conveyers move in opposite directions. In the embodiment of Figs. 2A-2C, each conveyer is a die. In the embodiment of Fig. 3, each conveyer includes a carrier and a die carried thereon. In other embodiments, other suitable types of holders in lieu of a die may be used to hold the work piece depending on the nature of the work piece and the tool that operate on them.
Any suitable drive mechanism may be used to drive the opposite motion of the two conveyers and its implementation is well within the abilities of those skilled in the mechanical art. The drive mechanism is preferably machine powered (electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, a combination of them, etc.), but it can also be human powered. Further, the shuttle machine may also be constructed so that the two conveyers move (slide) on the support frame under human power without a drive mechanism.
Although in the above descriptions the operators performing the loading and unloading tasks are human operators, the term "operator" in this disclosure may also refer to mechanical devices such as robotic arms that perform the loading and unloading tasks.
Although a two-conveyer implementation is sufficient to reduce wait time and improve efficiency, the shuttle machine may include more conveyers, such as four, etc.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modification and variations can be made in the shuttle machine of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention cover modifications and variations that come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A shuttle machine for transporting a plurality of work pieces in a machine tool, the machine tool comprising a tool for operating on work pieces, the shuttle machine comprising: a support frame; and first and second conveyers moveably supported by the support frame for transporting work pieces, wherein each conveyer includes a first and a second section, each section being adapted for holding one or more work pieces, wherein the first and second conveyers are moveable in opposite directions between a first state and a second state, wherein in the first state, the second section of the first conveyer and the first section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator, and wherein in the second state, the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator.
2. The shuttle machine of claim 1, further comprising a drive mechanism for driving the first and second conveyers in opposite directions between the first state and the second state.
3. The shuttle machine of claim 1, wherein each conveyer is a work piece holder for holding work pieces.
4. The shuttle machine of claim 3, wherein the work piece holder is a die having a plurality of openings for receiving work pieces, the die being moveably supported by the support frame.
5. The shuttle machine of claim 1, wherein each conveyer includes a carrier and a work piece holder, wherein the carrier is moveably supported by the support frame, and wherein the work piece holder is carried by the carrier.
6. The shuttle machine of claim 5, wherein the work piece holder is a die having a plurality of openings for receiving work pieces.
7. The shuttle machine of claim 1, wherein each conveyer has a rack on a side facing the other conveyer, the shuttle machine further including one or more pinions disposed between and engaging the racks of the first and second conveyers.
8. The shuttle machine of claim 1, wherein the machine tool is a sealing press for sealing packages.
9. A method for operating a shuttle machine to transport a plurality of work pieces in a machine tool, the machine tool comprising a tool for operating on work pieces, the shuttle machine comprising a support frame and first and second conveyers moveably supported by the support frame for transporting work pieces, wherein each conveyer includes a first and a second section, each section being adapted for holding one or more work pieces, wherein the first and second conveyers are moveable in opposite directions between a first state and a second state, wherein in the first state, the second section of the first conveyer and the first section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator, and wherein in the second state, the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer are disposed adjacent the tool, the first section of the second conveyer is exposed and accessible to a first operator, and the second section of the first conveyer is exposed and accessible to a second operator, the method comprising:
(a) moving the first and second conveyers to the first state;
(b) unloading and reloading the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the first state;
(c) initiate working on work pieces loaded into the second section of the first conveyer and the first section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the first state;
(d) moving the first and second conveyers to the second state;
(e) unloading and reloading the first section of the second conveyer and the second section of the first conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the second state;
(f) initiate working on work pieces loaded into the first section of the first conveyer and the second section of the second conveyer while the first and second conveyers are in the second state; and
(g) repeating steps (a) to (f).
EP08769727A 2007-05-31 2008-05-26 Improved shuttle machine for machine tool Withdrawn EP2148830A4 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11/755,989 US7938249B2 (en) 2007-05-31 2007-05-31 Shuttle machine for machine tool
PCT/US2008/064818 WO2008150745A1 (en) 2007-05-31 2008-05-26 Improved shuttle machine for machine tool

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
EP2148830A1 true EP2148830A1 (en) 2010-02-03
EP2148830A4 EP2148830A4 (en) 2012-07-04

Family

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Family Applications (1)

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EP08769727A Withdrawn EP2148830A4 (en) 2007-05-31 2008-05-26 Improved shuttle machine for machine tool

Country Status (5)

Country Link
US (2) US7938249B2 (en)
EP (1) EP2148830A4 (en)
JP (1) JP5161961B2 (en)
CN (1) CN101678961A (en)
WO (1) WO2008150745A1 (en)

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JP5903710B2 (en) * 2015-02-04 2016-04-13 株式会社 神崎高級工機製作所 Work supply device
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JP5842244B1 (en) * 2015-09-18 2016-01-13 株式会社 神崎高級工機製作所 Work supply device

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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
US20080296128A1 (en) 2008-12-04
CN101678961A (en) 2010-03-24
US7938249B2 (en) 2011-05-10
JP2010530309A (en) 2010-09-09
JP5161961B2 (en) 2013-03-13
EP2148830A4 (en) 2012-07-04
US8230989B2 (en) 2012-07-31
WO2008150745A1 (en) 2008-12-11
US20110083940A1 (en) 2011-04-14

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